When was the last time someone hurt your feelings? Or made you REALLY angry? If I had to guess, I bet each person reading this could think of more than one example for each question.
So what do you do with your hurt and anger? Let me see if I can guess… Some of you call your best friend and replay the event detail by detail and then tell it again because you forgot a detail or two. You vent your frustration and hope to get others on your side. Some of you confront the person and give them a piece of your mind. How dare they treat you like this? They need to know that a boundary was crossed and you won’t tolerate it. Some of you keep quiet and let it fester behind the scenes… until it festers so long that a root of bitterness grows. And some of you stop and pray about the situation, asking God to give you His wisdom on how to handle the emotions swirling through your head. And after you receive God’s answer, you obey… even if it’s uncomfortable because you trust that God knows best and you have confidence that He will empower you to do what He asks.
I think I can fit into each category… and quite honestly, I probably fit into multiple categories with a single incident. I wonder if you do this too? You call someone to vent, then let it fester for a bit. And hopefully, you feel God’s gentle conviction that this is not His plan for you, so you confess your sin, receive His forgiveness, and ask for His help.
I had a situation some time ago that triggered anger in me. I had multiple instances with someone that had piled up over time and I was mad. What I didn’t realize, until I talked it though with some people, was that I wasn’t just angry… I was hurt too. Understanding that hurt was linked to my anger was helpful to me. And God, out of His amazing love for me, provided this Twitter post from Sue Detweiler to show me how to handle my hurt and anger. I wonder if this will help you too?
How do you treat people who have hurt you?
God’s word tells us to practice forgiveness in practical ways. He tells us to pray for people that have hurt us and to bless them (Luke 6:27-28) You may not feel like they deserve it, but by obeying God’s word and praying for those who have hurt you, you will find that it changes your heart first. By praying for someone else you stop dwelling on all the toxic thoughts that lead to toxic words that lead to toxic emotions and simply pray for God’s goodness, mercy, love and forgiveness to surround those that have hurt you. Try it and see God bless you.
Ouch! That convicted me because to be honest, I didn’t really feel like blessing the person who hurt me. I was mad. But I also understood that this would help me change my “toxic thoughts,” so I decided to give it a try. I looked up the scriptures she recommended and started to pray them over the person who hurt me by plugging in the individual’s name. I wonder if you need to do the same. Take a moment and give it a try. Here are the scriptures:
1 Peter 4:8 NIV
Love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins.
Romans 12:14 Amplified Bible (AMP)
14 Bless those who persecute you [who are cruel in their attitude toward you]; bless and do not curse them.
Luke 6:27-28, 31-33, 35-37 Amplified Bible (AMP)
27 But I say to you who are listening now to Me: [in order to heed, make it a practice to] love your enemies, treat well (do good to, act nobly toward) those who detest you and pursue you with hatred,
28 Invoke blessings upon and pray for the happiness of those who curse you, implore God’s blessing (favor) upon those who abuse you [who revile, reproach, disparage, and high-handedly misuse you].
31 And as you would like and desire that men would do to you, do exactly so to them.
32 If you [merely] love those who love you, what quality of credit and thanks is that to you? For even [t]the [very] sinners love their lovers (those who love them).
33 And if you are kind and good and do favors to and benefit those who are kind and good and do favors to and benefit you, what quality of credit and thanks is that to you? For even the preeminently sinful do the same.
35 But love your enemies and be kind and do good [doing favors so that someone derives benefit from them] and lend, expecting and hoping for nothing in return but considering nothing as lost and despairing of no one; and then your recompense (your reward) will be great (rich, strong, intense, and abundant), and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind and charitable and good to the ungrateful and the selfish and wicked.
36 So be merciful (sympathetic, tender, responsive, and compassionate) even as your Father is [all these].
37 Judge not [neither pronouncing judgment nor subjecting to censure], and you will not be judged; do not condemn and pronounce guilty, and you will not be condemned and pronounced guilty; acquit and forgive and release (give up resentment, let it drop), and you will be acquitted and forgiven and released.
As I was praying these verses, I became even more convicted. Yep, these scriptures pointed out my OWN sin while I was blessing the person who hurt me. My attitude was not very pretty. I wasn’t loving like I should. I wasn’t treating them like I wanted to be treated. And I definitely wasn’t being like Jesus, who loves everyone no matter what they do. God used these verses to change my thinking. He exposed my own sin in the situation and He encouraged me to be more like Jesus. And guess what? Doing this daily transformed my attitude toward this person. Shortly after I started doing this, God’s did immeasurably more than I could ever ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20) by using this person to bless me in a big way. I would not have received this incredible blessing if I was still harboring my hurt and anger.
I wonder what blessing is waiting for you if you choose to obey God’s command to bless those who hurt you? Can you imagine how wonderful it would feel to be set free from the anger and hurt that is weighing you down? Are you willing to say yes to this invitation to bless those who hurt you? Then commit to pray these verses daily… and see how God blesses your obedience.